A few years ago, records show that some wanted to change the name of Mountain Road. It is noted that a petition was drafted and presented to the City Council. In part, the petition read:
"We feel the Old Mountain Road should be the one thread in the cloth which ties a dynamic, new, and growing town to its equally interesting past. We want the unity and individual initiative for which Fruit Heights has been noted, to continue, making this town the kind of town we all want it to be, here and now - today and in the future!
" The changing of a name will not make the town any different, It is the actions and deed of people that make a town or a street either good or bad."
For some, the name Mountain Road nostalgically recalls to memory its past. When this road, the Mountain Road, was but a buffalo trail, the Goshute Indians followed it rather than using the more difficult Bluff Trail, by the lake, especially in wet weather. It most likely, even then, was called the Mountain Trail. Later, trappers, such as Jim Bridger, Peter Skeen Ogden and others, who walked the foothills of the Wasatch, used the Mountain Trail. With the coming of the first permanent settlers in the valley, the Mountain Trail became the Mountain Road. It was the first road between Salt Lake City and Ogden City.
For nearly 50 years, Kaysville folks came to the Mountain Road, first to get their mail from Pony Express riders and later from stage coach drivers. For some, Mountain Road has the real ring of America and the events that have helped make this area, and the nation, great! When anyone wanted to identify where anyone lived, before August 23, 1939, they would say, "Oh, They live up by the old Mountain Road." Early pioneer families settled along the Old Mountain Road around 1850.
Some of the first settlers were Samuel Driggs, Joseph Taylor, Pleasant Green Taylor, and Allen Taylor. In 1854, Samuel Driggs died, after an illness of less than a week, leaving his widow, Elizabeth Taylor, and four small children. Brigham Young sent John Criddle, an unmarried man, to help run the farm. He married Elizabeth. In 1855 Grandison Raymond Sr. and his wife Celia Hall built a rock home on the Mountain Road. He was one of the first to raise fruit trees, peaches, apples, apricots, plums, grapes, berries and garden stuff. He owned his own molasses mills and grew his own cane. He was one of the first beekeepers in the area. John Bair had his own saw mill, located about where the Rock Loft is now. He sold the mill to William Beesley. The mill furnished most of the wood for the early homes. Ebenezer Williams, William Slack, Samuel Ashton, William Young, Jabez and Joshua Harris, William Foxley Sr, and Samuel Ward were other early settlers. Samuel Ward had his own brickyard in 1874. Many homes were constructed from this brick yard!
Samuel Driggs is credited with helping to start the first school on the Mountain Road. It was located where the Ward brickyard was later built. In September 1866 Robert L. Burton moved into the old school house, after it had been moved north of the Old Raymond rock house. They had no stove during the first winter, just a fireplace.
When early settlers came, this area was covered with sagebrush, oak, wild raspberries, currents, chokecherries, a variety of weeds and possibly a few rocksill.
Over the years settlers changed the area to beautiful farms and orchards. Water was very scarce! Ditches had to be dug. Some families were able to get water from springs in the mountains, but many had to use water from Haight's Creek, Baer Creek and irrigation ditches. It was used for culinary purposes, farm animals and irrigation. Many buckets full of water have been carried from the creek to fill the old tin tub for the family bath or the boiler for the weekly wash! They tried to get the day's water before the cattle came to muddy it! Children were sometimes given the task to haul the water. If it spilled, they started over. This situation continued until 1939.
It was then the people voted to incorporate and become a town, and what was known as the area along the "Old Mountain Road" was named Fruit Heights, because of the fruit industry. Four friends: Archie and E. Glenn Green, Sam Raymond and Alden Burton met in Archie's garage. A town must have 100 inhabitants before it can become incorporated. Taking in as much territory as possible, only 99 heads could be counted. What a dilemma! Then someone remembered a baby was expected just before the petition had to be delivered to the Davis County Commission. If the Town could be incorporated they could bond for the $8,100 for pipe for a water system!
All labor was done by hand and horse team. They hauled pipe and dug trenches, all the way from the springs in the pines on the south slopes of Baer's Canyon! Ray Harvey needed a point to survey from, so he climbed the tallest pine tree and hung a piece of white cloth which could be seen from down the canyon. Ray and Alden Burton tested the hardness of the water in the springs by the amount of lather they could work up with a bar of soap! The first meeting for the town of Fruit Heights was August 23, 1939!
In 1913 Utah Power & Light put the first electricity along Mountain Road with the stipulation that every home would purchase an electric stove!
In 1948, some lovely farms were bisected by Highway 89. The Old Mountain Road was no longer the main thoroughfare between the junction and Weber Canyon. The service station-garage and store run by Archie Green; and the Restaurant-Dance Hall that was once the top floor of the Rock Loft was closed down! The Rock Loft is owned by Dale Jost, and was built out of rock that had come down from the canyons in earlier floods. Fruit Heights City Offices were established in the Rock Loft in May 1978.
The Weber Basin Aqueduct from the tunnel at the mouth of Weber Canyon to Bountiful was started in 1954 and completed in 1957.
The Harvey's originally purchased the land on which the South Mountain Road Chapel stands for $1.25 an acre. Arthur Butcher had the first car in the area - a 1917 Ford - purchased for $411. A good pair of Skis could be purchased for $3.50.
Yes, the descendants of Esther Ann & Robert Green; Daniel & Hannah Smuin Harvey; William & Emma Wheatley Butcher; Grandison Raymond; Samuel Ward; Ebenezer Williams, and many others could tell many wonderful stories.
Our town has grown from 100 people in 1939 to:
- 124 in 1950
- 175 in 1960
- 800 in 1970 - We Became a City
- 2731 in 1980
- 4200 in 1989
- 4700 in 2000
August 1989 was Fruit Heights City 50th Golden Anniversary
The History of Fruit Heights isn't just of the past. Each of us living here today - We can make a difference. We can make this area lovingly known as the "Old Mountain Road" even better!
Fruit Heights City! It's a great place to live! It's a city of wonderful neighbors! It's a beautiful city where the actions and deeds of people still can make it good or bad!